Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Green Sleeves


…and green bodice, and green skirt… 😉

I love this Evening Dress from the April 1809 edition of La Belle Assemblée (which, curiously, is puffing a dress from the previous month rather than a future one—a mistake?) It’s so easy to assume that formal dresses in this era were all in white or pastels...and maybe they were, for young debutantes in their first or second season. But here is glorious, vibrant proof that they weren’t all so insipid.

The original description reads:

No. 2.—EVENING DRESS.  A round robe of green velvet, with antique boddice, and stomacher of blended gold and velvet. Short full sleeve, ornamented à-la-Spanish, to correspond. A plain gold lace placed round the bottom just above the hem, and also round the waist. A shade of Paris net across the back, edged with gold, and fastened on the shoulders with a gold or emerald brooch. A deep antique lace laid flat round the bosom and back, with a drawn tucker above. Hair confined in a gold caul behind and in full curls in front, with the Cleopatra diadem of emeralds and gold. Earrings, necklace, bracelets, and armlets to correspond. Shoes, amber or white satin. Fan of carved ivory. An occasional scarf, or shawl, of cream-coloured or white French silk, with gold or coloured embroidered body.

So…green velvet! Yum! Double yum on the elegant restraint in the trim, as well. I definitely see what is meant by an “antique boddice”—the bodice on this dress is reminiscent of an early 17th century dress, with van dyke lace pointy stomacher and all. The diadem and the “hair confined in a gold caul” also reminds me of the ancient Mediterranean style known as a Phrygian cap. And while it’s not easy to see in the print, I’m tickled by the “shade of Paris net” fastened on the shoulders—rather like a superhero cape!

And one more note: do you know what the item at the left of the image is? I’ll give you a bit of a hint: we talked about them some time ago, right here on NineteenTeen (though this is certainly a fancier version of one than I’ve seen before.)

What do you think of this dress? I know I’m in love with it.


Paula Shreckhise said...

I would say a fireplace screen so you wouldn’t get too hot, close to the fire.

Mindy said...

What a lovely dress!!!
I simply adore the hat, and the way the whole dress feels so exotic!!!